Silversmith ‘has refused to meet us’

THE Little Chapel Foundation has finally broken its silence over its legal wrangle with neighbour Martyn Guille, as a high-profile individual announced he was quitting the organisation.

The Little Chapel. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 31120427)
The Little Chapel. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 31120427)

It said that it was not ‘personally attacking’ Mr Guille but said the silversmith had consistently ‘rebuffed’ attempts to talk about their shared future on the Vauxbelets site.

The foundation said that, with public support, it had saved the Little Chapel from collapse. But further progress in its aims depended on a better working relationship with Mr Guille.

Mr Guille last week revealed that he had received a legal letter from the foundation and since then the charity, which had declined to comment until today, had been under significant pressure from the public and its own supporters, some of whom had publicly withdrawn their backing, concerned about reputational damage.

The foundation’s chief fundraiser Jack Honeybill announced yesterday that he disagreed with its actions and was stepping away from the organisation.

The foundation sought to explain that it was attempting to stop only Mr Guille from selling Little Chapel-branded merchandise to some 70,000 visitors to Les Vauxbelets every year.

Its advocates, at no cost to the foundation, had written to Mr Guille to highlight its concerns about the sale of such goods so close to the chapel and the confusion caused about a link between the foundation and his own business.

‘Our volunteers have encountered many visitors who believe they have supported the foundation because they have purchased “Little Chapel” branded goods from Mr Guille’s shop. Obviously, this is not the case,’ it said.

It said that while Mr Guille had made no contribution to the foundation and its funds, it wanted to work with him.

‘To this end the foundation has reached out to Mr Guille on numerous occasions over the last five years inviting him to meet with us but unfortunately, all such invitations have been rebuffed.’

It said it was not personally attacking Mr Guille, but seeking to act in the charity’s best interests.

‘We had hoped Mr Guille would agree to engage with the foundation to address this issue without the need for legal action, but this did not prove possible, and he has

chosen to address our concerns via the media.

‘The foundation continues to leave the door open to discussions with Mr Guille, which will hopefully lead to a more constructive and neighbourly relationship with him, for the mutual benefit of us both. It is clearly important for the public to see that our charity and Mr Guille’s business can work together in a spirit of co-operation befitting of Brother Deodat’s legacy and the Chapel’s spiritual heritage.’

It also said it was unhappy about 'unacceptable' levels of personal abuse towards its volunteers.

The statement was issued on Saturday evening, with an embargo on publication until today, meaning the Guernsey Press has been unable to go back to Mr Guille for comment. The foundation also said that it would offer no interviews.

Top Stories

More From The Guernsey Press

UK & International News